MEL O'DELL; Murals on Crutches / by Ryan Williams

Painting a big fat mural is hard – especially when you’re on crutches. Last time I saw Mel O’Dell she was on crutches. Somehow she’s painted a big fat mural between then and now. These things just don’t add up sometimes.

This big fat mural is at Softys on Maitland road – out the back. Mel is having a big fat party to celebrate finishing this big fat mural and she’s been nice enough to answer some big fat questions from this big fat writer about it.  

You’ve been painting a big fat mural at Softys?
I sure have!

How long has this been in the making?
Since late January, it’s been a very slow process for this one [giggles]. I hurt my foot pretty badly in an attempt to scare Tom and I’ve been sick a couple of times. Compared to the last two big projects, which I finished within less than a month’s time in December last year, this has taken a long time!

Why so many murals lately?
There are a couple of factors. I was feeling really inspired to go bigger with my paintings after hearing Georgia Hill and Nadia Hernandez speak at the Make it Made it conference mid last year.

Hudson St Hum Mural

Hudson St Hum Mural

By the end of last year I’d also developed a groovy 60’s(ish) bright painting style, so when Hudson Street Hum put out a call for a muralist I jumped on the opportunity and produced a solid mural. Aleeta and Suzie from HSH were really encouraging which pushed me to seek more opportunities. That’s how Suspension and Softys happened.

Suspension Cubby House Mural

Suspension Cubby House Mural

I also find it more fun, challenging but fun. There’s more room to really engulf your audience in. I studied Drama at uni and wanted to be actor once, which made me really conscious of making my audience feel something (mainly to feel good and laugh). So I guess that’s carried through.

You just finished up your Unlocking Creativity class as well – how did it go?
It was so fun, so playful and perhaps the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had teaching (I’m a qualified High School teacher). The whole course focused on letting go of creative inhibitions and returning back to a childlike playful state for adults to which all participants aced!

What time does the sun go down on the day of the party?
5:42pm! So best get in early to see the mural in all its glory + Murray’s is sponsoring the event so that’s another reason why people should come to the event early.  

Will there be music?
Yeah! Jez&Biz (Jerry and Byren) will be playing. They’re the geniuses that wrote, recorded and released an album in day.

You went to see the book of Mormon recently – does that have anything to do with this mural?
Nope but there’s a little tap dance number in the show which makes me want to pick up tap dancing again. Sidenote: It’s a 10/10, highly recommend!


You can RSVP to this event on facebook here -